Cleaning Your Facility Is Just the First Step — Communication Makes It Impactful
Facility managers everywhere can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19, but if they want building occupants to know their health and safety are taken seriously, they must also communicate their efforts.
For this reason, many facility managers have begun to let building occupants and visitors know about cleaning protocols via emails, Slack messages, posted signage, and other methods. For example, at health clubs and gyms, facility managers aren’t just leaving out cleaning supplies like they once did. Rather, they’re including directions on how to properly use the items, as well as asking people to document when they’ve wiped down a surface.
These communication changes happened within a short time frame, and they’re likely to continue. Why? People want information. If a facility manager doesn’t stay in contact with stakeholders about cleaning routines, the stakeholders may become frustrated, worried, or even panicked.
What’s more, buildings are being cleaned with a wide variety of chemicals. Even disinfectants that are ultimately safe for humans shouldn’t be used during normal working hours in places where people are congregating. Via real-time communication, facility managers can alert building occupants when an area is safe again after an aerosol treatment, carpet disinfectant application, or hard surface cleaning.
These four methods can help facility managers communicate clearly to keep building occupants and visitors safe and informed:
1. Repurpose service building contractor(SBC) collateral.
Many SBCs have educational, informative collateral on-hand to share with clients. If you work with one of these providers to keep your areas clean, you can increase your transparency with occupants by sharing such materials with them.
For instance, milliCare has an indoor air quality improvement program, the Breathe Easy Campaign, that includes collateral we make available to facility managers, including signage, notification cards, and even email templates. Facility managers can easily use this existing material to show building occupants how they’re prioritizing indoor air quality in the space.
2. Send out weekly email blasts.
Where emails about daily updates might take a bit too much work (and be more annoying than informative for building occupants), weekly emails are a great, low-effort way to inform everyone of recent or upcoming happenings. For example, these emails can include details on which areas are being cleaned that week and any notifications of after-hours efforts that might require spaces to be vacant.
3. Set up text chains.
Texting is an excellent option for more time-sensitive updates and reminders. For example, you could notify occupants in the weekly email that the office will need to be vacant at a certain time for disinfecting the following week. Then, a few hours before occupants need to vacate, you can quickly send out a text to remind anyone who may have forgotten. With this strategy, occupants can stay well prepared for whatever you have scheduled.
Including information in your alerts about the products you’re using to clean and disinfect can also be a great way to alleviate any fears and make employees and building occupants feel safer. Assure them that you’re only using safe, low-toxicity, EPA-approved chemicals.
4. Arrange for monthly Zoom or telephone calls.
Some facility managers have begun arranging Zoom or phone conference calls every few weeks. These calls are open to building occupants and include reports of new COVID-19 cases, recovered cases, and related action items. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns. This can be an excellent opportunity to share what you’re doing to keep your building occupants and visitors safe and field any questions about cleaning protocols.
Facility managers can no longer perform their services in the background. Instead, they need to become master communicators to help building occupants feel safer and more comfortable. Fortunately, the right tools and techniques can help make better communication a breeze.